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Birth of the first
fair trade gold standards

Initial work on developing international standards to apply the principles of fair trade to the gold trade began in 2005, at the initiative of the Alliance for Responsible Mining (ARM).

Starting with the original work performed by the ARM, the application of fair trade conventions and standards to the mining industry has always sought to establish a specific operating framework for artisanal miners, their families and their organisations, to enable them to:

  • escape the vicious circle of a subsistence economy and gain access to education, medical care and acceptable human development;
  • enjoy better trade conditions through a more equitable distribution of the value of the end product (e.g. a gold ring), and this for the small producers and mineworkers, and the rest of the intermediaries along the services and supply chain, all the way from the mine through sale to the end consumer;
  • more easily reach the market and strengthen their position in the supply chain through more powerful associations, more direct sales relationships, information, alliances with other small producers, etc.;
  • improve social, labour and environmental conditions, in the mining communities, in order to obtain a better quality of life.

ARM accordingly established a technical committee responsible for drafting the "Standard Zero" for fair trade gold, based on the fair trade standards developed by FLO. Since 2006 these standards have been the subject of numerous public discussions, culminating in the birth of the Fairtrade & Fairmined label for fair trade gold in March 2010.

Patrick Schein

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